Women We Love 2022: Jessica Ware

Jessica Ware

by Dennis Finnin

Entomologist Dr. Jessica Ware loves bugs. “Insects are so numerous and there are not enough people studying them,” she enthuses. “Each insect we study is like a time machine that reflects hundreds of millions of years of evolution.” But entomology wasn’t always in Ware’s cards. The researcher, academic, and associate curator in invertebrate zoology at the American Museum of Natural History originally had a different focus entirely. “I always loved nature, but I really thank my professors at University of British Columbia for steering me away from marine biology and to entomology,” Ware tells GO. With an overall goal of slowing insect decline, Ware’s research focuses on the evolution of physiological and behavioral adaptations in insects, especially Dictyoptera (termites, cockroaches and mantises) and Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies). She currently serves as president of the Entomological Society of America and was recently given a Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) medal by the U.S. Government for her work on insect evolution. Besides her passion for entomology, Ware’s own identity—and that of her identical twin and son, both of whom are trans—plays an important part in her work, and the future of her beloved dragonflies. “I love being a member of the LGBTQAI+ spectrum, especially as someone who works on insects, which have many different kinds of reproductive strategies and behaviors,” she says. “I think being part of a community that welcomes a diversity of ideas allows one to look at science through a broader lens, which makes work more creative and hopefully more impactful.” –LE

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